My Response.....(name removed to protect the innocent)
Thanks for the prompt response and feedback. While I believe that a Bicycle fleet and milage allowances are a good place to start, however less than $100 a year (to avoid FBT adjustments) it would take 15 years to compensate for a middle of the range bicycle - my particular bicycle and accessories for safe comfortable riding came with an initial purchase price of over $1500. I believe allowances, and again this is likely to be a federal matter, need to encourage people to cycle - not be a token effort.
In my personal opinion it is going to take a generation to get people back into active cycling, and it will have to start with children. From a recent report in the Bicycle Victoria magazine "Ride On" (March 2006, page 6) it shows a report from the "NSW Schools physical activity and nutrition survey 2004" that in 1985, 10% of year eight girls rode to school, by 2004, none did. For the year eights boys, 7% partook in cycling to school in 1985, but by 2004 that figure had dropped to 0.3%. Now admittably some of that would be attributable to better servicing of public transport, however I remember riding to primary school back in the middle of the 1980's. I remember active campaigns at the time of "Bike Ed". Much to my surprise I am hearing now that some primary schools are just rolling out "Bike Ed" programs or have re-activating such programs. This to me is a massive shock, have schools, councils, parents and children become so insular about potential injuries, public liability and other possible legal matters that these active programs kept children behind their desks with only the compulsory 1 hour or so of physical education a week?
To encourage current city workers they need to be provided with financially benefitual reasons not to drive their car. I know, I work in a building filled with them. These people still need their cars to do shopping, to pick the kids up from school (because presumably they are not riding to/from school) and for weekend activities. The reason why people spend $54,000 (just under Luxury Car Tax threshold) is so they can salary scarifice the car to take the tax benefit. This is correctly identified sustainable cities report you provided, which is an interesting read in itself, however I believe it just does not go far enough to support alternative or 'green' transport mechanisms. The family car is deep within the Australian psyche, it will be difficult to remove. Large number of people are turning to imported cars for their fuel efficiency and competitive prices rather than the locally produced vehicle from one of the 'big 4'.
While I appauld the changes being put in place - getting people out of their cars for the commute into the CBD is not going to be curbed with a parking tax, congestion tax or even reduced speed limits. The only thing that did it for me was that it was a faster commute via tram than car, and then after I got tired of trams being only every-so-often and poorly aligned with peak hour periods, I decided to start riding. Those that perform other functions on the way home (nightly supermarket shopping, child collection as examples) are going to be far more difficult to remove from their steel cages.
Anyway, thanks for your prompt response in regards to what is going on, I feel I have made my point, and my voice heard which indeed is a good thing. I just hope change could be a little faster...